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on our broadcast tonight, the confession after not telling the truth for years, now we know it's true. mark mcgwire did it on steroids. in the hot seat, what the senate majority leader said about barack obama, and what the president is doing about it. "the fleecing of america" our popular series is back on the air by popular demand. making a difference for thousands of people who just need clothes. why hasn't this idea been around longer? also, richard nixon on
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modern art and his hatred of a new york landmark opinion captions paid for by nbc-universal television we probably can't say what we'd like to say about mark mcgwire. for those of us who were raising young baseball fans and young baseball players who looked up to mark mcgwire, that summer of '98 was magical stuff as he and sammy sosa vied back and forth. he didn't tell the truth to congress or his fans until finally formally coming clean today. he's been unable to get into the hall of fame, and even for him, the shame was too much. we start off tonight with ann thompson.
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>> reporter: looking back, the admission seems inevitable. slugger mark mcgwire with his larger than life arms in the '90s. >> this is a season i will never forget. >> sending baseball soaring for the days of the st. louis cardinals. many home runs we now know were powered by steroids. today in a statement to the associated press, mcgwire says, i used steroids in my career and i apologize. he wants to start this phase of his career with a clean slate. >> i think he knew this was something he was going to be asked about virtually every day. so i think this is his attempt to get out ahead of those questions and come clean and put this story that's dogged him for the last five years behind him. >> reporter: he told the ap, injuries in the '90s led him to steroids, he hoped they would help him heal faster. he said i wish i had never touched steroids, was foolish,
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it was a mistake. i wish i had never played during the steroid era. and, yes, he says he used steroids during that magical summer of 1998. mcgwire hitting for st. louis and sammy sosa riveted the nation. the twin towers they were called. smacking homer after homer, as they chased roger maris' single season home run record. >> that chase is what brought the game back to the forefront of popularity. >> reporter: a steroid precursor was found in mcgwire's locker. it was not enough to tarnish his accomplishment of hitting 70 home runs, he would do that himself eight years later, when he refused to answer questions before congress about his steroid use. >> i'm not here to talk about the past. i'm here to talk about the positive and not the negative. >> reporter: mcgwire confronted that past in an effort to help
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secure his future. will the acknowledgement help mcgwire's hall of fame aspirations? bud selig praised mcgwire's apology and said it would make his reentry into the game easier. an apology that came like one of mcgwire's homers, not unexpected, but immensely powerful. >> kind of an american tragedy the way it's ended so far. ann thompson on our lead story tonight. now to a couple things in politics we're learning. devastating material on a new book out on the presidential campaign. some of it about what senate majority leader harry reid had to say back then about the candidate he was supporting after all, barack obama. now, reid is in some hot water, and there's more, andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom tonight. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. as a result of harry reid's newly reported campaign comments about barack obama, tonight americans from the president on down are once again having a
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conversation about race. the third rail of american politics. and also learning new campaign details and gossip about hillary clinton and bill clinton and john and elizabeth edwards. majority leader harry reid already in re-election trouble back home had to face the music today in nevada for his racial comments about then candidate barack obama. >> i've apologyized to the president, i've apologized to everyone in the sound of my voice, i could have used a better choice of words. i'll continue to do my work for the african-american community. >> reporter: as reported in "game change" a new book, reid an early obama supporter praised obama's chances because he's "light skinned with no negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." late today the president responded to roland martin. >> this is a good man, who's always been on the right side of
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history. for him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me and for people to make hay out of that makes no sense. >> reporter: republicans are calling for reid's head, michael steele on "meet the press". >> there has to be a consequence here if the standard was the one that was set in 2002 with trent lott. >> reporter: the bush white house forced trent lott to step down as majority leader for praising strom thurmond's past segregationist policies. reid was praising obama not longing for a precivil rights america. what reid said was politically incorrect and outdated he wasn't inaccurate. >> going back to the 19th century, black politicians with lighter skin have been more successful. it may not be a pleasant fact. it may be unfortunate that that's been the case historically, it may still be
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the case. >> reporter: game change is stirring strong reactions because of its deeply unflattering portrait of john and elizabeth edwards. the philandering husband and his wife. a screaming fight in an airport terminal between the couple over his infidelity. the authors write that hillary clinton first turned down obama's offer to be secretary of state bays of bill clinton. you know i can't control him, and at some point he'll be a problem. the president-elect told her he was prepared to take that risk. >> just as president-elect obama needed hillary clinton, president obama needs harry reid to pass health care. the president will be campaigning for reid in nevada next month. trying to save a senate leader at risk of losing his seat, even before he stirred a new debate with race.
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>> andrew a, thanks. walmart is closing ten of their sam's club warehouse stores. the ones being closed are ones that have been losing money. 1,500 jobs will be eliminated in the process. sam's club is the number two warehouse store in the country behind costco. the federal officials who track the temperature tell us this past december was three degrees colder than the 20th century average. it was the 14th coldest december apparently since records were kept. while it's a dangerous winter up north, and we know that, if you live in a place like florida, this winter is a shock. parts of the south, of course, aren't built for this cold. our report on all of it from ron mott in atlanta. >> reporter: this big chill is doing the most damage in florida, threat thing to leave citrus growers with slim pickens. >> with the temperatures we've
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had, the fruit's pretty much gone at this point. >> reporter: and tropical fish farmers are suffering severe set backs. >> looking at a 70% loss of our entire stock. >> reporter: at least 11 cities around the sunshine state set record lows for january 11th. from 14 degrees in tallahassee to a nippy 36 in miami. just 42 in key west. power outages, sinkholes and frozen pipes only add to the misery. further north in georgia today, salt trucks finally got to the humming hundreds of suburban atlanta families iced in for weeks. this icy monument has been turned into a head turner for people passing by. the ice has had dire consequences. two teens drowned in a thinly frozen lake. part of a busy weekend for emergency responders.
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>> there's a 20% increase, most of that because of the ice and snow. >> reporter: the deep south learning firsthand the harsh realities of a deep freeze. ron mott, nbc news, atlanta. news of an awful day in afghanistan, the deadliest in several months there, three more american troops killed today in a firefight in the southern part of the country. 11 days now into the new month of january, 10 americans have lost their lives in afghanistan. now we go to san francisco, and the opening day of a trial, in the first ever federal case challenging laws against gay marriage. it's getting attention not only for what's at steak, but also for who's making the case for same sex couples and where this legal showdown could be headed. our report from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: kristen perry and sandra steer have been together for ten-years, raising four boys in berkeley, california. they want to get married to
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demonstrate their commitment. >> i think children benefit from their parents being married. children understand when you're treated differently. and it makes it them anxious. >> reporter: their hopes of a legally recognized marriage were dashed last fall when california voters approved proposition 8. >> yes on proposition 8. >> no on 8. >> reporter: it amended the state constitution to say marriage is recognized only between a man and a woman. they've joined another gay couple in the first lawsuit ever, claiming that denying marriage to same sex couples violates the u.s. constitution. their lawyers are two high octane attorneys from opposite sides of the battle over the 2000 presidential election. olson is getting heat from conservative colleagues from taking the case. he says it's a matter of fairness. >> people on death row can get married. people that have no interest in raising children can get married in california. people who are child abuse can get married. >> reporter: surprisingly,
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california's governor and attorney general have declined to defend proposition 8 leaving to groups that fought to get it on the ballot. it's too risky to change centuries of tradition. >> this is altering the definition of marriage and saying it's not for protecting of children, it's about the desires and needs of adults. >> reporter: after conducting this test with courtroom cameras, the judge ruled the trial could be shown on youtube. another first for the federal courts. that plan is on hold while the u.s. supreme court considers the youtube issue. the justices likely realize this entire legal battle over gay marriage will soon end up here. pete williams, nbc news at the supreme court. when our broadcast continues here on a monday night. back by popular viewer and taxpayer demand. the return of our long running series of government fraud, medicare fraud part of "the fleecing of america."
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as we mentioned before the break, tonight we are bringing back our series of reports we call "the fleecing of america" how your money too often goes to waste. tonight an all too familiar subject medicare fraud. something that costs all of us billions of dollars a year. it's back in a big way. our report tonight from nbc's mark potter. >> when you opened that bill and you saw that? >> i was shocked. >> reporter: at the palace suites retirement community near miami, martin and gerry were stunned to learn someone used their names to bill medicare for nearly $20,000 for treatments they never got. >> i think it's outrageous to begin with. >> i think it's bad supervision on the part of medicare. >> reporter: in miami, fbi agent brian waterman and health and human services agent julie
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rivera have spent years chasing medicare fraud. they say the problem has skyrocketed. >> it's huge, it's like an epidemic. >> we could arrest hundreds of people every month. but there's a line of people to take their place. >> reporter: medicare theft costs u.s. taxpayers $60 billion a year, a nonstop pilferage covered here 12 years ago. >> tonight "the fleecing of america" and once again it involves medicare fraud. a veteran prosecutor tells nbc news 12 years ago a person stealing a million dollars from medicare was a big deal. now, individual thefts of 30, 40, 50 million dollars and more are not that uncommon. fraud experts say medicare's automated computer system for paying claims is easily exploited by criminals. >> any time government dispenses
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funds through computers with no face-to-face interaction, you can be sure the criminal groups are watching for these opportunities. >> reporter: the obama administration says it's a major concern. and now has medicare fraud prosecution strike forces in seven cities. >> we're trying to really improve the systems, upgrade the data system. sharing realtime data with law enforcement which has never happened before. >> reporter: some call the current system pay and chase, after medicare pays fraudulent claims, law enforcement has to give chase to try to get back at least some of that money. still, a "fleecing of america." mark potter, nbc news, miami. >> there's more on this story and others on our website wait until you see tomorrow night's story, what many consider an out and out taxpayer outrage. the multimillion dollar airport
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with no flights and no passengers. when we come back in a moment, who knew richard nixon was an art critic, and what does he have against a new york landmark? [ male announcer ] a bad cold hits your whole body. alka-seltzer plus liquid gels rush relief everywhere you need it. it's the most complete relief you can get in a liquid gel, so you feel better, fast. alka-seltzer plus liquid gels. last year, my little guy got the flu... and it was bad. there's nothing more important than the ones you love,
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complacency are kicking off a campaign to convince everybody to get a swine flu shot. richard nixon has done it again. he's not around any more, his words and thoughts live on. there was another document released today from the nixon presidential library in california, including this one that turned out to be ominous. it's a memo about a new white house lawyer they were considering, in it, chapin warns, i have a real hangup with the degree of commitment he would have to the president, something i feel the person who is counsel to the president should have. maybe it is his arrogance, i'm not sure. that lawyer turned out to be hired as white house counsel. he helped bring down the entire house of cards. here's another, chuck colson is asked about appointed a woman to a senior job at the labor department. he writes back by hand, no, no, she couldn't possibly handle the hard hats. get a good tough political man,
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please, please. and finally, richard nixon on the arts. he writes to h.r. haldeman back in 1970, those who are on the modern art and music kick are 95% against us anyway. i refer to the recent works of the new york crowd. when i refer to the lincoln center with the academy of music in philadelphia i realize how decadent art and architecture have become. speaking of modern art figures, we wanted to note the death of art clokey, he created "gumbi." if you were a kid in this country in the '60s, you were lucky enough to have one. and you saw eddie murphy give it new life on "snl." he considered the priesthood at one time.
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finally here tonight, a story about us and what we wear compared to most of the world, americans are clothes horses. we wear good quality clothing, lots of it, and a lot of folks have everything they need and then some. there's a lot they don't wear, won't wear and some of it gets thrown out. until this idea came along. it's a movement that's growing and making a difference. the stories from rehema ellis. >> reporter: from suits and dresses to blouses, even sleep wear. almost every type of clothing is here at this warehouse in brooklyn, home to the nonprofit new york city clothing bank. a collection of brand new items, some still in the wrapping. donated by manufacturers to help people in need. >> it was a resource too good not to tap into it.
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>> reporter: suzanne davis came up with the idea 24 years ago, when she was executive director of the jm kaplan fund. she asked a friend, the president of a men's clothing line if his company had any excess merchandise to donate do the homeless? >> the week after, van heusen sent a thousand men's wind breaker jackets. >> reporter: the idea blossomed. today 300 manufacturers contribute annually, helping 80,000 new yorkers through shelters,ospitals and schools. volunteers spend hours removing labels, the point is to assure manufacturers that the items they donate won't be sold or returned for cash. nationwide, tons of unsold clothes are routinely destroyed. a recent trashing of clothes from a new york h & m chain officials say was damaged and unwearable refocused the spotlight on the need for clothing in a city where many
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can't afford to go shopping. >> we're off about 40% in the donations we used to receive. when it comes to individual items, we're off 70% in men's clothing alone. >> reporter: for those down on their luck, the clothing bank answers a basic need. >> it builds your self-esteem, because a lot of the clothes that come here are very good quality clothing. >> reporter: retired now, davis is still reaching out to manufacturers. >> we hope they'll continue to step forward, because the need today is even greater. >> reporter: one woman's vision that's distributed $80 million worth of new clothes to people who need them the most. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. that's our broadcast for this monday night as we start a new week. thank you for being with us, i'm brian williams, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night. -- captions by vitac --
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it's our connection to our community it's our lifeline to the emergency information we need it's a free service that provides free entertainment. but one day soon, it could be taken away. there's a movement among special interest groups to limit free antenna tv and millions of americans who depend on it would lose out.

NBC Nightly News
NBC January 11, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

NBC News News/Business. The latest world and national news. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 6, America 6, Nbc News 4, California 4, Harry Reid 4, Miami 4, Mark Mcgwire 3, U.s. 3, New York 3, Richard Nixon 3, Ann Thompson 2, Sammy Sosa 2, Trent Lott 2, Elizabeth Edwards 2, Pete Williams 2, Afghanistan 2, Nevada 2, Atlanta 2, Florida 2, Bill Clinton 2
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